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Pick of the Camera Reviews

(Click the pictures for reviews & links) 

ACTION CAMS

Yi 2 - Best Budget 4K 

Gitup Git2 (My Pick)

Xiaomi Yi

Dazzne P2

SJCAM M10+
 
DASH-CAMS (CAR DVRs)
 
A119
DR02 D - Best Budget Dual Cam
Yi

Yi Ultra 2.7K
   
    MINI CAMERAS
Mobius (also works as a Dashcam)
Polaroid Cube+
    HELMET CAMERA
Sena Prism Tube

My favourite USB battery power Pack

This is the excellent USB power pack I use when I travel.

2 x 2.1amp outputs. 8400mAh capacity.

Two digit Led display shows battery level

 

What SD CARD should I buy?

If you want an SD Card for your camera - these are the ones I use and recommend. 

I'd strongly recommend not to buy any SD cards off ebay - I've heard about too many issues with counterfeit cards - often sold on by unwitting resellers. My inbox regularly gets messages from people who bought a £150 camera then cheaped out and bought a £3 memory card on ebay - Then when it doesn't worth they blame the camera! It doesn't make any sense. Good memory is cheaper than it's ever been - see the links above.

A lot of HD cameras will not work properly with cards larger than 32GB (cards over 32GB are usually SDXC rather than the SDHC standard used by 32GB cards. SDXC cards use the ex-FAT system rather than FAT32 - in short they are a different standard). - so don't just buy the biggest card you can afford - read the specs in the manual to see what it accepts.

UK & US LINKS & PRICES BELOW

RECOMMENDED CARDS (for action cams - see dashcams below)

CLASS 10 UHS-1 CARDS (For HD Cameras)

 

U3 CARD (For 4K cameras)

 

 

SPECIAL DASHCAM CARDS

The SD card in a dashcam is re-written over, more frequently than in other types of cameras. Some manufacturers void their guarantee if an SD card was used in a dashcam. So, no surprise, there are special High Endurance SD cards made just for dashcams...here's some.

 

VERY IMPORTANT. These links take you to the product, however Amazon have three different ways of selling. There's Amazon Direct - This means that you are only dealing with Amazon themselves, then there's other sellers that use Amazon's facilities - these show as Fulfilled By Amazon and finally there's Market Place sellers that advertise on Amazon, but operate independently.  I strongly recommend that you only use the first...the Amazon Direct - Sold By Amazon option. Even if it appears that you are paying a couple of £/$ more it is more than likely you are comparing the price of a real item against the price of a fake.

To give you an idea of the extent of the fake goods problem. In a 2016 survey by Apple - 90% of the 'Apple' chargers sold through Amazon - using the other the two methods..which includes the "Fulfilled by Amazon" option -  were found to be counterfeit....90%! 

 
« CCTV Basics - Wired day & night outdoor camera. | Main | The Big SJ5000+ Action Camera Review »
Sunday
Mar012015

K1S - The first Front & Rear Hidden 1080p Dash Camera

My full video review for the K1S 2ch HD Car DVR is below. 
   
  
If you want to watch my 'Beginners Guide To Dashcams' video - Click here.
   
The K1S manufacturer website is here, and pdf manuals for the camera can be found here.
   
For my downloadable sample videos click here  As always, download these files to your machine before viewing them - streaming will make them look worse than youtube.
Note: These files have been manually trimmed for length (and filesize) - therefore the start and end points for the front and rear clips no longer match each other perfectly.
  
Size Comparison
The control unit is approximately the same thickness as a box of cards but a bit smaller overall (without cables).
   
Buying the K1S
I’ll add links below as and when I discover additional resellers. 
 
EBAY
US link here
UK link here
  
AMAZON
(US) With GPS: http://amzn.to/1MKU4lY
(US) Without GPS: http://amzn.to/1DBbUpZ
  
  
 
   
UPDATE 02 March 2015
I've received the answers to a few questions I asked the manufacturers.
 
1) The Car Lamp Open/Closed menu as expected does warn the driver if they are driving in the dark with the headlamps off. It judges this by the exposure.
  
2) Apparently the battery used is a Standard GoPro size....which is great. Normally I try to avoid dashcams that use batteries, because when the internal battery fails you have to replace the whole camera - in this case you can buy a new battery. Just a reminder -  I can't comment on the long term reliability of any cam after only a month of use.
 
3) I wasn't sure how the emergency button handled the files. I was concerned that if you saw something you wanted to keep - but the camera started recording the next file before you managed to press the button then you would be protecting the wrong clip. Well it turns out the manufacturer has thought of this. "When this button is pressed, if current recording is less than 1 minute, then current file and the file before this (together 2 files) are locked"
 
4) Not a question, but I have raised the issue of the need for resellers in China who can export to Europe and also the Speedcam database is no use in the UK until the camera can support additional database formats. Both these things are being explored...but the database issue isn't a simple quick fix.
>>>>>IMPORTANT - READ THIS... (OCTOBER 2016)
Both my cars had a K1S installed until a couple of months ago - They were still working 100% at the point I took them out. I removed them so that I could test other cameras, although I was getting a bit sick of the rear wire interfering with the rear hatchback door on both cars - this would work better in a car with a fixed rear window.  It seems that my experience is not the same as that of other people - perhaps the manufacturer changed the product after I purchased my cameras...but if you read through the comments it seems that other people are having lots of reliability issues. You may have noticed that this is no longer on my list of Recommended Cameras - and this is the reason. I was happy with the performance of both of my cameras for 18 months...but perhaps my experience was uncommon. 

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Reader Comments (642)

Decided to just buy an A40 /118

April 15, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Steve, you meant B40 / A118.

April 16, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterefoo

ha yep thats the one

April 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Hi Mad Dad:

your name explains it

your " one of those "

========================
sorry you cant read my English, but the above post was relevant in the K1S was seen in his New Red Mini he just got
in the review you can see his 2 cams is what i was mentioning, as it was 1st time folks learned of his new car, and he got another unit to put in his 2nd car, was the post at top, the review on the taxi cam was accurate, infact if you read the reviews, already someone is returning it for what was mentioned in my post, your relevant cause your waiting on your lost dash cam? from spy tech

========================================================

its common to use insults when you have nothing else

April 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEric Edwards

There are 2 Kinds of Dash Cams on the Market:

====================================

either its a " Junky Cam or Its Not "
the K1s is Not

April 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEric Edwards

G'day Mat,
That alone should tell every one where I'am located.
Question, the K1S has a rechargeable battery which you and , and I like many others don't like, can you find out if we can replace the battery with a "capacitor", if so make and model would be appreciated, and purchase location.
Keep up the excellent work, from down-under Melbourne.
Kal KOPPEL

April 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKal

I don’t believe that the battery in this one can be replaced with a capacitor - a battery is probably necessary to provide enough energy for the unit as it seems pretty power hungry, given the two cams, a screen, gps and illuminated buttons.

The good thing to say is that that this uses a lithium ion battery (rather than the very prone to fail LiPO batteries) and it is replaceable. The reason I usually err away from batteries in dash cameras is that they are sealed non-replaceable units and usually LIPOs, so when they fail the camera has to go in the bin. According to the manufacture the K1S camera uses a standard GoPro battery, so there should be no problem finding replacements.

April 17, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Well, we're almost at the 1 week of ownership mark and I'm going to have to revise my original score down a little, predominantly for a few reasons that may or may not impact other users of the cam. This is a bit of a long post, so the TL;DR version is that my score is reworked to 6/10 from 8/10.

The top reason for a score reworking is that the EMI suppression on this cam sucks. There's literally nothing else to say about it - it's quite possibly, in EMI terms the noisiest device I've ever put in a car.

I've fitted a DAB radio to my car, and have had absolutely zero trouble with the signal until fitting the K1S. After doing the usual EMI suppression stuff (cleaning grounds, using clip-on ferrite cores, re routing cables etc) it still causes the signal to drop out when in an area of less than perfect coverage. Switch off the K1S and the signal returns - back to perfectly listenable reception.

I've re-routed the aerial cable, clipped ferrites to the head and plug end of the aerial cable, as well as the USB voltage converter on the K1S - short of trying to construct some form of faraday cage around the K1S, I'm running rapidly out of ideas!

The second reason for a reworking of the score is that even after playing with the exposure, the night-time use of the cam is severely hampered. Unless you're in a city centre with good ambient light, you're going to struggle. Eric suggested bumping the AE bias up a bit, but when I did that - the daytime video became horribly over-exposed, so unfortunately it wasn't workable. Maybe come winter, it will be beneficial to bump the AE bias up a little bit as there will be more driving done during darkness, but at the moment - I'm less than impressed with the current state of nighttime use.

I haven't changed the score for this next point, as I believe it is something that is more an issue with my car than the camera so it is more a general point of caution. The FOV on the cameras is huge, the box says 140 degrees but that is probably up and down as well as left to right. I believe this hampers the AE on the camera (in my car) as unless I have it pointing at the dash, there is so much sky in shot that the camera sets the AE and white balance to try and compensate. This tends to give rise to a pinky-tinted, very washed out type of image. It also causes the AF to lock onto the dashboard, meaning that the view out of the window isn't as pin sharp as a 1080p camera is capable of providing.

The rear camera suffers from the same issue however it isn't too bad in all honesty. Again, this is probably more down to my car than anything to do with the camera.

Another issue, however I can't pinpoint if it is a fault with the camera, or if it is something that is meant to happen is that on startup, it plays the 'welcome' beeps, and then makes a bong noise, after checking the screen, it flicks off, back on then plays the recording 'beep' noise. I'm not sure if this is just as it copies the camera locations to the device from the SD card or if there is something amiss with it, but it's worth keeping an eye on.

It also makes the odd bong noise like that as I'm driving along - maybe it is something to do with the G-sensor? Perhaps @Techmoan can give some input as I know he uses these cameras daily.

Camera location issues aside, I'm going to revise my original 8/10 down to a more average 6/10 for the K1S. The EMI suppression is a killer and is quite possibly going to be the straw that broke the camel's back for me, unless I can find a way to suppress the noise within the car better than it currently is, and I don't think anything can be done about the night use of the camera but we'll see. I'm hanging onto it for the moment - until something better comes out, this is still the single best camera on the market for discreet use, and daytime video is still consistently superb. For less than £200 there really is nothing else on the market quite like it, and I'm possibly being overly picky myself.

April 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave

I'm happy with the day and night footage on both my cameras. They don't bong (I think I turned the g-sensor sensitivity down or off - can't remember), the one in the Mini starts up when I unlock the car (that's when the 12V socket gets turned on) so it beeps to indicate its recording before I've got my seatbelt on. This car also has DAB built in and I've been listening to Absolute 80s without interruption. Couldn't be happier. Perhaps I'm easily pleased, but it's working really well for me.

April 17, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

The EMI issue is something common to DAB radio and remote lens cameras it seems, even Blackvue cameras at twice the price are known for this issue

The lenses are fixed focus, not auto focus, it's not how your camera is aimed that is affecting your focus, the lens would have been incorrectly focused during manufacture, lens focus is done by hand and is subject to human error unfortunately

April 17, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjokiin

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